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Which module to choose: IELTS Academic vs General

Which module to choose IELTS Academic vs General
Which module to choose IELTS Academic vs General

Which module to choose: IELTS Academic vs General

The choice of the type of IELTS exam is always at the discretion of the candidate and depends on your future goals, where and how you will use the issued certificate.

As a rule, the IELTS Academic module “AC” is chosen by candidates who are preparing to enter foreign universities. The general training module “GT” is most often required for secondary education, employment abroad, or immigration.

ALWAYS specify which module you need to take directly with the organization where you are going to submit your IELTS certificate.

IELTS Academic Module

  • Study in undergraduate or graduate programs almost anywhere in the world.
  • Apply for a UK Student Visa (Tier 4) at a Tier 4 Sponsoring University.
  • Work in an English speaking country.

IELTS General Module

  • Study in non-degree programs (higher education)
  • Work or receive work-related training in an English-speaking country
  • Emigrate to an English speaking country
  • Find another job in your country.

What is the difference between Academic and General, which module is easier?

All test takers take the same listening and speaking tests, but different reading and writing tests. 

The reading and writing parts of the IELTS general module are easier. For example, the first writing task in the General Module is to write a letter, while in the Academic Module it is to describe a schedule.

Both modules consist of 4 parts:

Listening – 40 min

Reading – 60 min

Writing – 60 min

Speaking – 11-14 minutes

IELTS academic vs general

ielts academic general difference

So, Listening and speaking are the same for IELTS Academic and General. Tasks and time for completion are absolutely identical for both modules.

The key difference is in the Writing and Reading parts.


READING – 3 long texts of an academic nature with an abundance of complex words and terms, for example, about whales, space, dams, etc.

WRITING – Academic task 1 to describe the graph (several types of graphs: tables, maps, process, etc.) + an essay on an academic topic – education, crime, learning languages, etc.

IELTS General Module Tasks

READING – The texts in parts 1 and 2 are shorter and lighter than in Academic, as they are on more general topics (eg, advertisements, magazine articles, booklets, management, employment, etc.). 3rd part – a long text about animals, birds, etc. It is tested whether you can understand texts on everyday topics while living in an English-speaking country.

WRITING – write a formal or informal letter to a friend, boss or organization + an essay on a general topic (much easier, academic module). Topics are easier than in IELTS Academic – for example, about zoos, house or apartment, celebrities.


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